With this Labor Day weekend, we say goodbye to yet another summer – although this is one we will not soon forget. As masking up and maintaining social distancing have become normal enough for celebrities to sport fashionable designs and award shows to find unique ways to present drive-in concerts and socially-distanced backup dancers, our staff at the Seattle Human Services Department are trying to get caught back up on the non-emergency tasks that would normally face us each year.
As we begin the return to some non-emergency tasks we regularly address as a department, one “routine” item to check off on our task list is complete just a couple months later than last time. I am pleased to share our just-released HSD 2019 Annual Report with you, highlighting some of the incredible work we accomplished together—and with our City and community partners:
Preparing Youth for Success: The Seattle Youth Employment Program (SYEP) launched a new school-year program, providing increased access for youth to grow as community leaders and prepare for future work and career opportunities. By engaging in an academic year curriculum to build job-readiness skills as part of a cohort of youth, interns are better prepared to participate in the summer internship program at its conclusion.
Supporting Affordability and Livability: HSD partnered with the Seattle Office of Sustainability and Environment and Department of Education and Early Learning to support the Fresh Bucks To Go food bag pilot, an offshoot of the City of Seattle’s Fresh Bucks program, which delivers healthy, local produce and online convenience directly to families through the Seattle Public Preschool Program and before- and after-school programs serving low-income children and families in Seattle.
Addressing Homelessness: Our ongoing strategic investments in homelessness helped shelter and house more people in 2019 than any other year previous.
Promoting Public Health: The Seattle Fire Department expanded its Mobile Integrated Health program by partnering with HSD to provide case management services on more calls, including a new ride-along program called Health One.
Responding to Gender-Based Violence: HSD’s Mayor’s Office on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (MODVSA) increased education and awareness through a series of events, including: a #DenimDay educational panel to amplify voices of indigenous women as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (April); hosting speakers and a discussion on the importance of addressing racism and bringing communities together to protect African American women and girls (September); and expanding recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October) by recruiting City staff and the Columbia Center to participate in #PurpleThursday.
Promoting Healthy Aging: Every four years, Area Agencies on Aging around the country develop an Area Plan, which charts the course we will follow as we seek to create an age-friendly community. The plan describes the function of Aging and Disability Services as the local Area Agency on Aging, presents relevant demographic trends, and outlines the major goals and objectives to be achieved over the course of four years. The final draft Area Plan 2020–2023 for Seattle and King County, Washington, was submitted October 4, 2019, as a result of countless engagements with staff, partners, and the community, including reviews of both local and national research in conjunction with DPE to best address the needs of Seattle’s older adults.
Turn the pages of this report to learn more and view all the highlights from across our six investment impact areas. While not all-inclusive of the hard work of HSD staff over 12 months, it demonstrates the breadth of our work as we collaborate and perform services each day that deserve recognition.
A big thank you to all our staff and our community partners for your work that makes our community stronger and Seattle a better place to live!